The Peninsula Hot Springs are a major tourist attraction on the Mornington Peninsula. In fact, a lot of the time they’re too crowded. I’ve written about them before here, with tips of how to make the most of them as adults. Honestly, if you take a bunch of rowdy kids along, you might to get a few dirty looks, and you’re going to have to restrict where your kids go.
So, how to take squealing children to the Hot Springs and still enjoy it? You’ve come to the right article. Step number one is go early. Not only can this make your entry price cheaper (a must when the kids could crack it and you have to go home any time), a large part of the Hot Springs is closed to kids (under 16) after 10am.
So, what do you need to see before then?
The view from the hilltop pool.
The hilltop pool is a must see for everyone. The view from the top is stunning; it’s ideal for games king and queen of the world make-believe.
There is a silent pool which depending on the age of your kids can be great. Usually real littlies can’t keep quiet for long enough to make it worth it, but it can be a great way of calming them down if you think they can have a quiet competition for five minutes or so. Be warned, even between 7am and 9am there will be people in this pool looking for quiet reflection.
There's a pool that flows into a cave that's another favourite. Kids love the echoes, and the imagining that can occur. Like the others mentioned, this one is only open to kids before 10am.
If you’re still around after 10am, or you simply get there late that's ok. there is a kids bathing section at the bottom of the hill (closest to the entry area). Here there is a large shallow pool, as well as a cold water pool. There are a number of half wine barrels full of water for the kids to play in, and sometimes the adults too.
Step two is book. If you want to go on school holidays, or weekends, book weeks ahead. Yes, it can be annoying, because you can’t cancel these bookings without paying a fee, but the fact is that they get booked out, and without a booking of your own, you won’t get in. The best way to book is online, as there is a phone booking fee.
If you do book, you need to aim to arrive at the Hot Springs early. You won’t have trouble parking (they have an overflow car park) but some parks are a longer walk than others, and if you arrive after your booking time, they won’t let you in.
So how much does it cost? You can see a full schedule of fees here. Children under four are pretty cheap at $5 each, but family entry (2 adults and 2 children) is $115 on peak, and $95 off peak.
The perfect picnic location.
Finally, be prepared. Take a water bottle each: if you are mostly in the warm pools you will all need it, and there’s nothing worse than dehydrated and headachy children. Take some snacks. There’s a restaurant on site that has lovely food, but it does charge accordingly and most children won’t appreciate the menu. There are walking paths that mean you could be super prepared and take a picnic lunch (make the most of your entry fee!) but at a minimum I’d recommend taking some fruit or muesli bars.
Remember all your towels, and bathers. There are change rooms there, as well as lockers. Open lockers are free, but if you want a lockable locker you have to purchase them at reception for $3.